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Burlington High School

Course Expectations Handout

English Department
Ms. Vamivakas & Mr. Calvin Structure in Language and Literature I

I. Course Overview
This course is designed so freshman students may increase their skills in reading, writing,
speaking, and listening. Through the use of short stories, articles, poetry, drama,
novellas, supplementary materials, vocabulary, grammar, and writing, students will learn
to speak clearly, write effectively, and analyze literature.

The skills and concepts that the students will learn are ones they will use throughout their
lives: in college, in the business world, in their personal lives and in becoming literate
citizens of a much wider world.

I. Successful Learning
To insure success in this class, the student must:
• Report to class on time.
• Come prepared with the homework and all necessary materials, including binder, books,
analytic journal, and writing utensils.
• Maintain a complete and well-organized binder. Keep all work returned to study, correct, or
resubmit as needed. SAVE EVERYTHING!
• Take good notes in class.
• Read all assignments carefully and on time.
• Strive for accuracy in reading to understand and develop insight. Close reading requires
self-discipline, good study habits, and excellent journaling.
• Actively participate in group and class discussions, ask questions, and take risks.
• Be attentive, curious, and diligent.
• Show respect for the sharing of diverse ideas.
• Be respectful and courteous to each other and the teacher.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Come for extra help when necessary.

I. Student Learning Expectations

By the completion of this course, successful students will be able to:
• Employ current technology to investigate, create, communicate, and produce
• Apply a variety of problem-solving strategies
• Write effectively
• Communicate orally
• Read critically
• Demonstrate self-control and respect for all individuals
• Pursue/participate in modes of artistic and creative expressions
• Acquire academic and social skills that foster lifelong learning and responsible citizenship

I. Expected Outcomes
At the completion of this course, the student should:
• Comprehend and interpret classical and modern prose.
• Have developed the ability to read, discuss, and write intelligently.
• Be comfortable as both a reader and a writer.
• Understand the rules of English grammar.
• Better understand how writers use language to communicate ideas, feelings, and opinions.
• Be more comfortable with and confident in his or her own ability to communicate verbally in
front of a group.

I. Topics/ Content
Areas covered include:
• Readings: Literature will include Animal Farm, The House on Mango Street, Romeo and
Juliet, Lord of the Flies, and a variety of short stories, essays, poems, and articles.
• Vocabulary: Vocabulary Workshop A
• Semester I (September-January): Units 1-8
• Semester II (February-June): Units 9-15
• Writing:
• Focus on essay development
• Maintain analytical journals
• Produce creative assignments
• Grammar: Individualized grammar program and supplementary materials

I. Assessing Progress
A variety of testing and assessment procedures will take place during and following each
unit. Group work, papers written both in class and at home, projects, quizzes, reading
comprehension exercises, and tests are incorporated in the study of literature. Vocabulary
quizzes and tests occur throughout the term and cumulative exams will transpire at the
end of each semester. Grammar concepts are also evaluated throughout the year in
papers and essays. Grades are calculated using a point system, but the breakdown of
weighting is as follows:

Writing Assignments & Major Projects 25%

Tests 20%
Quizzes & Minor Projects 20%
Homework 25%
Class Participation & Collaboration 10%

I. Classroom Expectations
The school rules as they appear in the student handbook apply to this classroom.
Students are expected to arrive on time, fully prepared with homework and materials.
Students should be ready and willing to work both individually and in groups. Deviation
from these will result in a lowered class participation grade. Attendance is crucial for
success. Students are expected to observe codes of honesty and integrity regarding
their work both in and out of the classroom. Students are also expected to treat all
classroom property and classroom members with kindness and respect and to conduct
themselves in ways that will not interfere with their own success or the success of other
members in the class.

Cheating/Plagiarism: No form of cheating or plagiarism will be tolerated. For any infraction

of cheating or plagiarism (including the first), the student will receive a zero on the
assignment or assessment, and parents/guardians will be notified, as per the student
handbook. The definition of plagiarism is “to steal and pass off the ideas or words of
another as one's own.” Please note that plagiarism includes all forms of stealing words or
ideas – no copying from books, web sites, SparkNotes, or each other.

Our English classroom is a community. The rules of this community are simple:
• Respect yourself.
• Respect all others.
• Respect the work that we do.

I. Homework
Major Assignments: All essays, papers, projects and other student works will have
assigned due dates. The writing assignment is due at the beginning of class on that due
date. For all major assignments, 10% credit will be deducted from the final grade for
each class period that the assignment is late. Students who are absent the day that
an assignment is due are required to pass in that assignment at the beginning of class on
the first day that they return to school.

Daily Assignments: Keeping up with assignments is crucial to the student’s success.

Daily homework is due at the beginning of class on the assigned date. Students who are
late by one day will lose 50% of credit for that assignment. After two days, the student
will lose all credit for the assignment. For any missed assignment that is corrected in class,
students will not be able to complete the assignment for any credit.
Vocabulary Quizzes: Vocabulary quizzes may be made up for a higher grade at any
time during the quarter, as many times as the student would like. The highest grade
replaces the previous grade. Students may only retake quizzes once per day. Quizzes
from previous quarters may not be retaken.

I. Make-up Policy
Assignments: Students are responsible for completing any work that is assigned while
they are absent. It is the responsibility of the absent student to collect these
materials before or upon his or her return and complete the assignments in a
timely fashion (within one or two days). If a student is absent for a longer period of
time, the student should see me upon his or her return to discuss an appropriate timeline
for completion of assignments.

Students who are absent the day that an assignment is due are required to pass in that
assignment on the first day that they return to school.

Students who are absent sometime between the date that an assignment is given and
the due date of that assignment do not receive extra time to complete the work.

Quizzes or Tests: Students who are absent on the day of a test or quiz are required to
complete the test or quiz as soon as possible after their return to school. Students will
need to find the time to take the make-up. Tests and quizzes can be made up before
school, after school or during a study period. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule
the make-up. For any tests and quizzes that are not made up within one week of
the student’s return to school, the student will receive a zero. Students who
have been absent for a longer period of time should see me to set up a schedule for
missed tests and quizzes.

I. Additional Information
• EXTRA HELP is available everyday before and after school by appointment.
Students are encouraged to utilize this time. Mr. Calvin can be found in
room 128 before and after school.
• Mr. Calvin can be reached at 238-5643 during the school day or at
calvin@burlington.mec.edu at anytime.
• Mrs. Vamivakis can be reached at vamivakas@burlington.mec.edu at anytime.